Difference between Wheat Germ and Wheat Bran

Updated on June 28, 2018

Wheat germ and wheat bran may both be parts of a whole grain, but they don’t need to come as a package. Despite their similarities, the two are completely different and are commonly sold individually. Keep reading to learn the difference between the two!

Summary Table

Wheat GermWheat Bran
The part of a wheat grain that grows, sprouts, and reproducesThe hard outer coating of a wheat grain that protects the endosperm
Typically added to cereals, smoothies, yogurt, casseroles, protein shakes, and other food itemsTypically added to cereals and bread
Distinct for its nutty flavor and crunchy textureDistinct for its sweet taste and flaky texture
Boosts immunity, maintains ideal cholesterol levels, promotes cardiovascular health, and fights free radicals to slow agingIdeal for promoting proper digestion
Protein content: 8 grams per ounceProtein content: 5 grams per ounce
A richer source of thiaminA richer source of niacin
Has a lower content of soluble and insoluble fiberHas a higher content of soluble and insoluble fiber
Carbohydrate content: 14 grams per ounceCarbohydrate content: 17 grams per ounce
Has small quantities of simple sugarDoes not contain simple sugar
Fat content: 108 caloriesFat content: 57 calories

Definitions

Whole wheat kernels
Whole wheat kernels, with both the germ and bran intact

Wheat germ is the embryo of a grain or a wheat kernel. A rich source of vitamins and protein, wheat germ is separated from other parts of the wheat kernel during the milling process.

Wheat bran

Wheat bran, also called miller’s bran, is also a by-product of the milling process. It is the outer layer of the grain and it is characterized by its hard texture.

Wheat Germ vs Wheat Bran

Although they are both nutrient-dense, there is a huge difference between wheat germ and wheat bran.

Roles

Wheat germ and wheat bran, together with the endosperm, make up a wheat grain. While the germ and the bran are both packed with nutrients, they play different roles. Wheat germ is the part of a wheat grain that grows, sprouts, and reproduces, while wheat bran is the hard outer coating of a wheat grain. Its main function is to protect the endosperm, which supplies the wheat germ with nutrients essential for growth and reproduction.

Cooking Application

While wheat germ and wheat bran can both be used as an additive to breakfast cereals, there are differences in terms of their usage. Because of its high protein content, wheat germ is typically added to smoothies, yogurt, casseroles, protein shakes, and other food items. Wheat bran, on the other hand, is usually used to increase dietary fiber intake, making it an ideal bread additive.

Texture and Taste

As opposed to wheat bran’s sweet taste and flaky texture, wheat germ adds a nutty flavor and a distinctive crunch to different recipes.

Health Benefits

Wheat germ is the most nutrient-dense part of a whole grain. According to studies, it can boost immunity, maintain ideal cholesterol levels, and promote cardiovascular health, especially for elderly women. Since it is loaded with vitamin E, it is also known for its anti-oxidant properties, which fight free radicals that speed up aging. Meanwhile, wheat bran, which is packed with dietary fiber, promotes proper digestion, making it ideal for those who suffer from constipation and irritable bowel syndrome.

Nutritional Information

Protein

Wheat bran and wheat germ contain 5 grams and 8 grams of protein per ounce, respectively.

Vitamin

Both wheat germ and wheat bran are rich sources of B vitamins such as pantothenic acid, riboflavin, and folate, but they also have major differences. Comparatively, an ounce of wheat germ has a higher thiamin level – 0.5 milligrams – while an ounce of wheat bran is a richer source of niacin, which is around 5.8 milligrams.

Carbohydrates

Between the two, wheat bran is richer in both soluble and insoluble fiber, which explains why it promotes faster digestion. It also has a higher carbohydrate content with almost 17 grams per serving as compared to wheat germ, which contains about 14 grams per ounce. Additionally, small quantities of simple sugar is found in wheat germ whereas wheat bran does not contain any.

Fat

Wheat germ and wheat bran are ideal for losing weight since they lack cholesterol. Also, wheat bran has a lower fat content at around 57 calories, while wheat germ has approximately 108 calories.

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